Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How I Almost Died

Death. It's scary and it's inevitable. Older folks often say they aren't afraid to die. From what I understand, mostly it's because they have lived a full life and understand the inevitable. Others who are terminally ill say they aren't afraid to die as they have accepted it as part of their path on this earth. Young people think they are invulnerable and it will never happen to them.  Middle age is when you start to think of it more.

As you get older, in your 30's and 40's on up, you question your life, where it has gone, what you have done, etc. At 40, I realized,  hopefully I am only half way through and I still have 40 years to go. What do I wanna do significant with these next 40 years?  You are also at the age where your parents begin to have more health issues and possibly pass away.  You really begin to question life and mortality.

I wanted to share the three times that I almost died. I have never really discussed these incidents. Every now and then I think about these times and they serve as a wake up call that I am very lucky to be here.

When I was very young, say 6 or 7, my family was eating at the Ellisburg Delicatessen in Cherry Hill, NJ. We always went there. I remember the big Kosher dill pickles than came with every sandwich.  I was eating a huge Kosher hot dog and started to choke.  At so young an age I didn't know the international "hands on neck" symbol to alert others so I just sat there hoping it would stop. It didn't. I couldn't breathe and I started to fade. The last thing I remember was Mom saying "Oh my god, Marc's choking!" She stuck her hand down my throat and pulled out half the hot dog. I started crying and she yelled at me for trying to eat the entire thing so quickly. God love her. She was so scared and so was I. What can I say, Kosher all beef franks are so good.

One summer day in my early 20's, I was walking west on Spruce Street with one of my best friends Grant. We were passing the Touraine apartment building, a very ritzy building, and for some reason I stopped. Grant stopped and said, "What's up?"  Ironically just as he stopped, a terra cotta planter smashed two feet in front of us on the sidewalk. It had fallen from one of the balconies above. If I hadn't stopped, it would have hit one or both of us in the head coming down. After our initial freak out, we just stood there staring at it. We went to a bar and drank martinis the rest of the afternoon.

The last incident involved a Septa regional rail train during winter in the last 90's. Septa is Philly's transit service. It was at the Elwyn platform just past Media, PA. I was running late and was ... of course ... trying to catch the train. It was snowy and icy and I tripped crossing the tracks with the train barreling towards me. The train was about 25 feet from me but could not have stopped in time. I was on my knees and I threw myself onto the platform gasping in shock in front of about 10 people. No one said anything and just stared at me. I was shocked, angry at myself for doing something so stupid, and then angry at others for not asking if I was alright. Some business woman did say to me, "You know you could have got hit!"  I turned to her and screamed, "Ya think?!?!"  I just remember being SO angry at myself.

These three incidents are seared into my mind. Life is too short, anything can happen. Live life to the fullest and don't take anything or anyone for granted. And oh yes, some lessons learned:  I now chew my food slowly; I am actually nervous sometimes walking by tall buildings with balconies; and I never EVER run for the train. I'll take the next one and still be here, thank you very much.

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